Recruiting & Scouting

Jackson of Renaissance chooses football over basketball, and Iowa over Iowa State, Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State

Football   | Tom Markowski

Jackson of Renaissance chooses football over basketball, and Iowa over Iowa State, Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State

 

Detroit – Alaric (A.J.) Jackson of Detroit Renaissance is a late bloomer.

Soon after Jackson was able to walk he was playing basketball. That sport remained his focus for years and years. Jackson had good size, he was agile and he was good. He still is good, good enough to play at the Division I level but Jackson won’t be playing basketball in college.

On Wednesday, as part of a throng of seniors from the Detroit Public School League who announced their college decisions at the Horatio Williams Foundation headquarters in downtown Detroit, Jackson chose Iowa.

Jackson is a 6-7, 285-pound lineman who’s also the starting center on the basketball team. He received scholarship offers for basketball from University of Detroit, Eastern Michigan and Oakland.

“The more and more I played football, the bigger the interest (in me) got,” he said. “And it started to come from bigger schools.”

For football Jackson received scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska. He took two official visits, to Iowa and Iowa State. He cancelled an official visit to Nebraska this past weekend.

Jackson will likely play offensive tackle at Iowa and increases the total to four from Michigan to sign with Iowa. The others are Cedrick Lattimore and Chauncey Golston from Detroit East English Village Prep, and Cedric Boswell from Birmingham Groves.

Jackson simply said that he liked the atmosphere and the coaching staff at Iowa. What also influenced his decision was the fact that Iowa never wavered in its interest.

The switch from basketball to football came gradually for Jackson. But a big moment came last January when U-M coach Jim Harbaugh went to Renaissance to watch him play basketball.

“That changed everything,” Jackson said. “Seeing him there, knowing I was getting that type of attention, made me think more about football. I found myself watching more film, lifting weights.”

So why not U-M? For Jackson, the scholarship offer came too late. Often recruiting is about loyalty and Jackson said Iowa and Iowa State never pulled away from their commitment.

Early on MSU also showed great interest.

 “(MSU) pulled off for a while, then came back in,” Jackson said. “Iowa was always in.”